Tłı̨chǫ Language

The Tłı̨chǫ language is the second language of instructıon in each of the five Tłı̨chǫ community schools; Alexis Arrowmaker in Wekweètı̀, Chief Jimmy Bruneau in Behchokǫ̀ (Edzo), Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School ın Behchokǫ̀ (Rae), Jean Wetrade Gamètı̀ School in Gamètı̀, and Mezı Community School in Whatı̀. Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ is taught as a core subject in all schools. All core Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ classes are taught by one language instructor. Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School (EMES) is the only Tłı̨chǫ School that offers an immersion program for students in Jr. K to Grade 2. The two immersion classrooms at EMES each have two instructors that team-teach the class.

As with many other Indigenous languages, Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ is strongest amongst the older Tłı̨chǫ population within the regıon. Due to a variety of factors, English has become the mother tongue amongst our youth. Sadly, Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ has become the second language of instructıon. Our children are more fluent in English than they are in our heritage language. To address this crisis, the TCSA strives to create language materials that will support and enhance language lessons to be engaging, fun and exciting! Language lessons are based on the Tłı̨chǫ seasonal calendar coupled with terminology and vocabulary that is required for the various themes studied throughout the school year. Authentic language activities such as greeting one another using role play, singing songs and performing finger plays are common in the Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ class. Learning the Tłı̨chǫ prayers, traditions and customs including the Dene Laws are also incorporated into the Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ essential learning objectives for all students. Although oral fluency is the focus, many students can be seen reading and writing in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀.

Tłı̨chǫ Culture

Tłı̨chǫ culture is to be the foundation of all classrooms Jr. K – 12. As much as possible, all educators are to implement Tłı̨chǫ culture into their lessons as mandated by Education Culture and Employment. Educators are to know their curriculum well enough to combine Tłı̨chǫ stories, legends, practices, songs, guest speakers, food, traditions, customs, language and way of life, etc. to enrich and improve their lessons. Students connect best to classroom lessons that incorporate Tłı̨chǫ culture and way of life.

Culture Based Integrated Programming is practiced in all of our five schools where educators in grades 3-6 meet regularly to reflect, discuss and improve their classroom lessons to be more reflective of Tłı̨chǫ culture in all core subject areas.

All schools take advantage of on-the-land programming to allow students to learn first hand the Tłı̨chǫ seasonal practices of our people. Thıs is done in partnership with the educators, school administration, experienced personnel, community Elders and often other community partners. School outings can range from a day trip to a few days in length based on the age of the students. Popular on the land trips include seasonal hunting, fishing and trapping activities.

It is common practice for the Tłı̨chǫ schools to begın and end their school year with a Feeding-the-Fire ceremony where all students and staff are led by community Elders or school personnel. Most, if not all, Tłı̨chǫ schools begin their school day with a prayer and or a reflection ın Tłı̨chǫ. All Tłı̨chǫ schools have culture equipment such as ski-doos, boats and tents or cabins to utilize for on-the-land programming.

All TCSA culture and language staff meet twice a year to improve and strengthen theır practices around Tłı̨chǫ language and culture instructıon.


Click to learn more about Tłı̨chǫ language and culture integrated programming

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